(One of these days, Josh Barnett is going to choke to death on a peanut in a room full of people, and nobody will realize what’s going on until it’s too late. Everyone will just think, “There’s good ol’ Josh, threatening our lives again.” / Photo via Getty)
A clash between two top heavyweights has been added to the year-end blowout of UFC 168: Silva vs. Weidman (December 28th, Las Vegas). Sources close to the UFC have informed the Las Vegas Review Journal that crowd-pleasing veteran Josh Barnett will take on dangerous contender Travis Browne.
Both men are on two-fight win streaks, with Barnett most recently TKO’ing Frank Mir during his UFC homecoming last month at UFC 164, and Browne coming off his first-round knockouts of Gabriel Gonzaga and Alistair Overeem. The winner of this fight immediately stakes a claim to UFC heavyweight title contendership, assuming that the promotion won’t just have Velasquez and Dos Santos fight each other over and over and over again, forever.
Even though Barnett is just four years older than Browne, the two heavies represent a generational clash of the sport’s modern eras. Will Barnett big-brother the less-experienced Hapa, or will Browne’s new-school approach win the day?
In other booking news…
Ever since his unsuccessful featherweight title challenge against Jose Aldo in January 2012, Chad Mendes has been on a killing spree, scoring first-round stoppages of Cody McKenzie, Yaotzin Meza, and Darren Elkins, before upping the level of difficulty with a brilliant third-round TKO of Clay Guida last month at UFC 164. One more impressive win could earn the Team Alpha Male product another shot at the 145-pound belt, and he now has an opportunity to do just that.
FOX Sports’s Mike Chiappetta has confirmed that Mendes will face Nik Lentz at the quickly expanding UFC on FOX 9 event, December 14th in Sacramento. Lentz was originally supposed to meet Dennis Bermudez at UFC Fight for the Troops 3 in November, but he was pulled in favor of a bigger fight, and Bermudez will now take on Steven Siler on the 11/6 card.
Lentz has made an impressive career resurgence since dropping down to featherweight last year, earning three straight victories, the last two of which came against Brazilian fighters in Brazil. Prior to that, “The Carny” had compiled an Octagon record of 5-2-1 (w/1 NC) competing at 155 pounds.